This time last year:
Me (at the local smoke shop): I'm self-publishing a book. It's due out in a couple weeks.
Manager: Cool! Where can I buy it?
Me: It'll only be available at Amazon. Do you have a Kindle?
Her: No. I have an iPad. But that's okay, because I have that app thing.
Me: Kindle for iPad?
Her: That's the one.
That's just an anecdote, but it's fairly indicative of how my non-Amazon sales go. Them what don't have a Kindle use the app. Them what don't like Amazon have to wait to buy my books elsewhere. Why?
Well, I initially started out as Amazon-only because I wanted to see how the Kindle Select perks worked for me. Then, in May, I took Dying Embers out of Kindle Select and put into wider distribution to see how that worked for me.
I sold 5 books in the 90 days I had DE in wider distribution - and those 5 sales were due to an ad that sold me over a hundred books at Amazon. Needless to say, I put DE back into Kindle Select and haven't regretted it.
Then I took Wish in One Hand out of the program and placed it in the wider distribution windmill. Almost 90 days have gone by. 1 sale. To a friend.
I tried looking for 'non-Amazon' marketing outlets. They don't seem to exist. Those Kindle advertisers who do put up links for your books at other sites garner very few sales. How do Nook / Kobo / Apple users find new books? Got me. Perhaps those distributors are using their marketing space for the Big 5. :shrug: I am not Big 5 and I never will be, so oh well.
I still have WIOH in the wide distribution and I will through at least a month's worth of the launch for In Deep Wish. Because I am launching IDW everywhere and I want to see how that goes. Maybe if I wave two books in a series at those other readers, they'll be inclined to buy. Probably not, though. I have low expectations. We'll see.
I tried a wider distribution for my printed books. I sold like 1 book that way. To the same friend. I made .61 on a $15 book through B&N. (BTW, I made .59 on the 99 cent ebook I sold through B&N.) And that is the money for a cheaper to print book. If I wanted to take BloodFlow through the process, my take would be considerably less unless I wanted to price my paperbacks so high no one would want to buy one. Raise your hand if you're willing to pay more than $15 for a paperback. Yeah, I didn't think so. Hell, even at $12.99, I can't move these suckers and any lower makes my cut feel like I'm giving these away.
To sum up, I haven't figured out how to make money at the wider distribution thing. There are dollars out there, but I can't seem to tap into them. If I do, I'll let you know what the secret is. I suspect if the other book distributors got a little more friendly to self-published authors like myself - provided some perks and incentives, a little marketing somethin-something - it might be better. I'll probably never know. In the end, I keep trying new things. And after I try the new things, I end up back with Amazon exclusively because that makes the most sense for me. Time will tell. If that changes, I'll roll with it.